Looking closely…

Today I looked closely, for the first time, at a Cyclamen persicum plant.


A Valentine gift from Mr. Garner, the cluster of white flowers float atop long stems of deep pink, and seem constantly to be on the verge of flight.  Gazing out the window today, petals of white in the foreground seem a flutter, mirroring dozens of white sea gulls which soar, swirl and dive at pieces of bread being tossed by my neighbor.

I shift my attention to the plant and look more closely.  Did you know that the flower actually faces down, and the petals are swept back and up?

Nobody sees a flower really;  it is so small.
We haven’t time, and to see takes time  –
like to have a friend takes time. 

George O’Keefe

The afternoon sun shines brightly through the kitchen window and the play of light and shadow among, around and between the white petals of the flower catches at my memory.  I am small again, running and hiding between rows of glowing white sheets rippling in a light breeze on the clothes line.  Sunlight and shadow slide up and down their surface.  Blue sky above, grass between my toes, I am caught up in the splendor of fresh smelling white sheets and sunshine.

Cyclamen comes from the Latin cyclaminos for circle, because the tuber is circular.  Interestingly enough, pigs enjoy eating the naturalized varieties of cyclamen, and common names include “Sowbread” in English, pain de pourceau in French, and pan porcino in Italian.  Snort.

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